• Joe Cocker dies at 70

    Updated: 47 min ago

    LONDON (AP) — British singer Joe Cocker is dead at age 70. His London-based agent, Barrie Marshall, said Cocker died early Monday of lung cancer in Colorado, where he has lived for the past two decades. Cocker was known for a memorable Woodstock performance and cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." The ballad "You Are So Beautiful," with Cocker's voice cracking on the final emotional note, was a Top Ten hit in 1975. He reached the top of the charts in the 1980s with the duet "Up Where We Belong," with Jennifer Warnes, that appeared in the movie "An Officer and a Gentlemen." Cocker also had hits with Randy Newman's song, "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and "When the Night Comes.

  • South Africa's high crime rate inspires novelist

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Novelist Angela Makholwa's fascination with South Africa's violent crime has made her one of the country's most popular writers. Using sharply drawn characters and intriguing plots, Makholwa's fiction helps South Africans to make sense of the country's high crime rate. A mother of two who runs a public relations firm, Makholwa said she is inspired by the discomfort caused by crime. "It's a permanent fixture of our lives. It's almost part of the fabric of what it is to be a South African," she said. "It's hard for me to write an idealized version of what it's like to live in Johannesburg or South Africa." While working as a writer at a glossy magazine, Makholwa became fascinated by the case of a ser

  • Actress Billie Whitelaw, 82, dies

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — British actress Billie Whitelaw, who collaborated closely with Irish playwright Samuel Beckett and appeared on stage and screen for decades, has died in a London nursing home at age 82. Denville Hall general manager Charlotte Schram said Whitelaw died Sunday. "It's a great loss. She was a wonderful person," Schram said. Whitelaw was well known for her roles in a number of films, including "The Omen" and most recently "Hot Fuzz," and for her regular work with Beckett, who once described her as the "perfect actress." Their association began with her appearance in Beckett's "Play" in 1964. Her work in Beckett's "Not I" inspired the playwright to produce a piece specially for her, "Footfalls." Sh

  • NSYNC's Lance Bass Got Married This Weekend

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Lance Bass and Michael Turchin finally tied the knotthis weekend in a star-studded ceremony that will betelevised as an E! special this February, according to BuzzFeed.“Today I marry the man of my dreams. He makes me smile; he makes my heart melt; he makes me….me,” shared Bass on his Instagram.

  • WATCH: Kristen Wiig crashes Amy Adams' 'SNL' monologue

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Kristen Wiig knows how to crash a monologue in style. During Amy Adams' 'Saturday Night Live' opening, Wiig made a grand entrance, carried in by her crew of Christmas hunks. The former SNL cast member stopped by to coach Adams on how to excite audience members with a Christmas-themed musical number, Mashable reports.

  • Sony plans to eventually release 'The Interview'

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    A lawyer for Sony says the studio still plans to distribute "The Interview" after it was withdrawn due to threats from North Korean hackers, USA TODAY reports. "Sony only delayed this," David Boies, a lawyer for Sony, said on Meet the Press on Sunday. "Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. How it's going to be distributed I don't think anyone knows quite yet." Sony had previously released a statement saying that it had "no further release plans" for the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco in a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

  • China indicts Jackie Chan's son on drug charge

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BEIJING (AP) — Chinese prosecutors on Monday indicted the son of Hong Kong action film star Jackie Chan on the charge of sheltering others to use drugs, more than four months after he was detained. If convicted, singer-actor Jaycee Chan could be jailed for up to three years. Chan, 32, was among a string of celebrities detained over the summer for vices such as drug use and hiring prostitutes, as Beijing vowed to clean up social morals. Chan's case has been particularly embarrassing for his more famous father, who was named by Beijing as an anti-drug ambassador in 2009. Beijing police detained the younger Chan at his Beijing apartment in August along with Taiwanese movie star Ko Kai.

  • N. Korean cinema: Kidnappings and evil Americans

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea hates the currently scrapped Hollywood film that revolves around the assassination of its beloved leader, but the country has had a long love affair with cinema — of its own particular styling. In the six decades since North Korea began to cultivate its own film industry, a South Korean director and his movie star wife have been kidnapped, a Godzilla-inspired monster movie has bombed at the box office in the South, American defectors have hammed it up in anti-U.S. propaganda films — and there has even been a foray into "girl power" cinema with the more recent "Comrade Kim Goes Flying." The U.S.

  • AP PHOTOS: Sheetos, the street-mime of Cairo

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Bright colors, strange clothes and a striking white mask steal the attention of everyday people going about their business in downtown Cairo. This is the stage for Mohammed Saeed (aka Sheetos) who is waging a lonely campaign to introduce the art of mime to modern Egypt. "I know I look like the strangest thing in their eyes. But I do this to publicize this art. I believe in this art," said Saeed, 21. "I try to help people smile during their difficult lives. My wish is to draw smiles on faces." Although mime is not well known in Egypt, Saeed is dedicated to spreading the word through his own public performances on downtown streets and even on the Cairo subway. He is already used to the occasional negative or host

  • Morocco's transgender dancer courts acceptance

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — It was a slow night on the red carpet at the opening of the Marrakech film festival for the photographers and everyone was complaining over the lack of celebrities. Then a car pulled up and out stepped Noor Talbi, Morocco's most famous belly dancer. The photographers went wild. Darling of the jet set and a fixture for any society party or hotel opening, Noor's statuesque six feet frame was clothed in a spangled, off-the-shoulder ballgown slit up the side to reveal her long legs. Legs, that as a teenage athlete, won her a gold medal in the 440-meter hurdles at the national level — back when she was a boy who went by the name of Nourreddine.

  • Iraq TV show makes 'terrorists' confront victims

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Haider Ali Motar was convicted of terrorism charges about a month ago for helping to carry out a string of Baghdad car bombings on behalf of the Islamic State extremist group. Now, the 21-year old is a reluctant cast member in a popular reality TV show. "In the Grip of the Law," brings convicted terrorists face-to-face with victims in surreal encounters and celebrates the country's beleaguered security forces. The show, produced by state-run Iraqiyya TV, is among dozens of programs, cartoons and musical public service announcements aimed at shoring up support for the troops after their humiliating defeat last summer at the hands of the Islamic State group, which now controls about a third of the country.

  • NKorean cinema: Kidnappings and evil Americans

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea hates the Hollywood film that revolves around the assassination of its beloved leader, but the country has had a long love affair with cinema — of its own particular styling. In the six decades since North Korea began to cultivate its own film industry, there have been a kidnapped South Korean director and his movie star wife, a Godzilla-inspired monster movie that flopped in the South, American defectors hamming it up in anti-U.S. propaganda films — and even a foray into "girl power" cinema with the more recent "Comrade Kim Goes Flying.

  • US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company. North Korea has reacted angrily to Obama's comments blaming it for the hacking of Sony, warning of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism." Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea's propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington.

  • Toned-down ads with Heidi Klum OK'd for Las Vegas airport

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Images of Heidi Klum will appear in an electronics company's ads inside McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after all. Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews says the company that manages indoor advertising at the airport rejected an initial set of Sharper Image's black-and-white shots featuring the scantily clad model. Las Vegas-based Alliance Airport Advertising determined the images violated Clark County code designed to protect families that pass through the airport. But Crews says Sharper Image's ad firm, Iconix Brand Group, submitted "amended proofs" on Thursday and all five ads were approved to run from Jan. 3-9 as the company wanted.

  • German-language pop superstar Udo Juergens dies

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — Udo Juergens, an Austrian-born star who dominated pop music in the German-speaking world and sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning five decades, died on Sunday. He was 80 years old. Juergens collapsed unconscious during a walk in Gottlieben, a town on Lake Constance north of Zurich, Switzerland, and was taken to a hospital where he died of heart failure 4:25 p.m., according to a statement on his website posted by his management company Freddy Burger Management. Germany's minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, called Juergens a gifted composer and singer. "In Udo Juergens we have lost an exceptional artist," Gruetters said in a statement.

  • How do you joke about the Sony hacking? A little carefully

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    How do you joke about the Sony hacking story? After all, it was an attempt at comedy that launched this whole sobering mess. If you're Chris Rock, you joke about it cleverly but carefully. Promoting his new movie "Top Five" this week, he noted an added bonus: "My movie's very Korean-friendly. There are no jokes about North Korea in 'Top Five.' If you're Korean, go out and see 'Top Five.' You will enjoy it." Given that the fallout over an unabashedly silly movie — "The Interview," which Sony shelved last week after a stunning cyberattack by hackers the U.S. has linked to North Korea — has escalated into a serious global situation, one would think comedy writers might be a wee bit skittish just now.

  • 'Hobbit' goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — While Hollywood continued to wrestle with the fallout of the Sony hacking scandal, the weekend box office offered the solace of a moviegoing truism: Hobbits sell. Peter Jackson's final installment of his six J.R.R. Tolkien adventures, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," debuted with $56.2 million over the weekend and $90.6 million since opening Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday. For an industry reeling from the cancellation of "The Interview" and terrorist threats against moviegoers, Middle-earth provided reliable refuge.

  • Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brokaw says his cancer is in remission. The veteran NBC newsman announced Sunday that, after months of chemotherapy, he soon will begin a drug maintenance program. Sharing with colleagues what he called "very encouraging news," Brokaw's internal memo noted that a year ago his future was "more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge." Last February, he revealed that six months earlier he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in thebone marrow, and was undergoing treatment. He called the past year "a challenge," but added gratefully he met it in "world-class hospitals with brilliant physicians.

  • Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England


    LONDON (AP) — Entertainer Elton John and longtime mate David Furnish officially married Sunday on the ninth anniversary of the day they entered into a civil partnership. The couple converted their civil bond under new laws implemented in England earlier this year that allow same-sex marriages. On Sunday the couple posted an Instagram picture of themselves preparing to sign official documents. "That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!" they wrote. John and Furnish planned a celebration at their estate near Windsor Castle west of London. An A-list crowd is expected — even if the festivities are likely to be much more sedate than the parties in John's hell-raising rock 'n' roll days.

  • Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing executive emails. One month later, the Obama administration confirmed what many had suspected: The North Korean government was behind the punishing breach. U.S. officials are promising a response, unspecified so far.